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Poster: swamprabbit Date: Dec 12, 2007 9:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Disco Dead?

As we all know during the late 70s and early 80s - the Dead incoporated some Disco-like tunes in their repetoire and even posed as the Bee Gees on the cover of Go To Heaven (at least that's what it looks like)! Disco-ish tunes from the era include a reworked version of Dancin in the Streets, Shakedown Street, Feel Like a Stranger, and some of the early Brent Tunes. Some of these became staples and favorites among deadheads over the years and unlike other "rock" groups like the Stones who experimented with the Disco sound- the Dead never abandoned these tunes but continued to play them long after the Disco era faded out. I was wondering if any of you older heads (or those who are simply familiar with Dead history) who lived through the Disco Dead period could fill me in on how this was perceived by Deadheads at the time. I mean I love a good Shakedown but I would imagine that given the negative reaction among many "rock" fans to disco that this was a fairly hard pill to swallow. Or did deadheads simply accept the new style? What did the band think about this change? Were they attempting to cash in on the craze or did they simply absorb another slice of American music? Can anyone enlighten me?

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Poster: abilene22 Date: Dec 12, 2007 4:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Disco Dead?

We were a bit confused (more than usual) at the likes of the disco Dead. I remember a lot of pre-game parking lot talk about the Dead selling out, big business corporate scheming, all that crap. At first you might have thought the world was coming to an end by the dread, dismay and otherwise apathetic response directed toward the disco sound-alikes. As usual, the playing took precedence and folks generally warmed up to the songs soon enough. Many (like me) took a wait-and-see attitude and whaddaya know... the sky didn't come crashing down. Now there's nothing like a great Shakedown; gets me at the opening note just about every time. Also love a funky Jerry Dancin' solo. Who woulda thunk it?

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Poster: jackstraw86 Date: Dec 12, 2007 1:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Disco Dead?

I got on the bus in the midst of the Disco craze so I guess I'm a Disco-head, although I was never called on to my face anyway. I do remember hearing a lot of folks walking around, shaking their heads saying the Dead have gone Disco. To me I didn't think so, probably because I was too busy just trying to figure out the whole scene at the time. To answer your question of "Were they attempting to cash in on the craze or did they simply absorb another slice of American music?", I think it was the latter. It's what they did best, absorb, internalize and retool music with a "Dead accent".

PS Oh, and the microdots I had at the time were from the Bay area and were very tiny rust colored pellets, about the diameter of a pin. Strongest stuff I EVER had and it's what I was initiated with. Stronger than dirt and no turkeys were milked during any voyages.

This post was modified by jackstraw86 on 2007-12-12 21:42:50

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Poster: He Live's Date: Dec 12, 2007 1:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: They Always Had The Funk

i would simply attribute this development by the band as RIGHT ON COURSE for the group's evolution.

the dead had been playing motown and R&B since their inception, PERFORMING contemporary COVER TUNES! not all just revamped roots material like Viola Lee, Cumberland and the like.

they came back with the two drummers in '76 and they were ripe for a fresh perspective, a way to combine Garcia and Weir's increasingly SLICKIFIED style, as they took to really arranging and SHOWCASING the material, Lesh's architectual sense of the grand gesture and the newly massive poly-rhythmic STEAM ENGINE rolling down the track.....YES! disco, well again....

the dead seemed to absorb the popular dance music of the day through ...osmosis(?)... and the syncopated yet straight 4-4 FUNK of the contemporary black american dance & popular music of the time provided a good jumping off point for the drummers:

set up and interesting propulsive groove and DON'T FORGET THE HI-HAT and don't loosen up the beat for a second, just let it ride out...like

[...]the dead putting the disco back in EGYPT, Sep. 16, 1978


This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2007-12-12 21:50:05

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Poster: mcgannahan Date: Dec 12, 2007 9:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Disco Dead?

might have been clive davis's fault.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Dec 12, 2007 9:55am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Disco Dead?

I'm not an older head (comparatively), but I've mentioned before that I got some crap for older heads as being a disco head, kind of like touch head became a derisive term, because I didn't really start to attend shows in earnest until after release of shakedown and just before go to heaven, which album cover makes me shudder (although some of these are worse: http://www.coverbrowser.com/covers/worst-album-covers - number 71 is a great album.) Of course, those heads were also cool, for the most part, to newcomers to the party and the scene itself. I'll let the elders weigh in.

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Poster: daliguana Date: Dec 12, 2007 11:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Disco Dead?

oh no, he ditn't!

I've been mesmorized by these album covers

wonderful - I've got covers for all those shows that I can't seem to find a picture for

bookmarked for sure

all my friends are getting albums from the list

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Poster: tank_tuba Date: Dec 12, 2007 12:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Disco Dead?

Check out album cover #98.
I'm embarrased to say I don't have that one in my collection.

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Poster: jerkwaterdan Date: Dec 12, 2007 3:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Disco Dead?

I remember those days well. I still don't care for Shakedown Street as an album. The most blatantly disco songs were "France" (mercifully never played live) and the "new" arrangement of "Dancin' In The Streets" and the album version STILL sucks and has not improved with age. Give me the 1970 versions of that one! I thought they were doing it to be "current" at the time but if it was disco it wasn't even "good" disco (as if there were such a thing). Jerry's famous quote on the Dead go Disco controversary is classic. Jerry said "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke!"

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 12, 2007 2:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Disco Dead?

Oh yeah--we talked about it here sometime ago, and I took some criticism for using the term "disco DEAD"...

But, at the time, for those of us in the Bay Area, it was defn the case. We all referred to it as the "disco" album, and when we would be defending the boys (that never changed--at parties, wherever--we were always having to do that!) folks in 78 and 79 defn used it in their arguments (ie, that the DEAD had sold out, and in the worst possible way).

Live, they still had it, so I wouldn't say it was in anyway related to why I stopped going a few yrs later (82), but it was probably as big a change as I witnessed with the boys. The first was the "acoustic period" in 70; the second was the "jazz period" associated with 73 and Wake; the third was the "disco period" associated with Shakedown and 78.

On another level, we saw it as predictable and expected, really; just as reggae had considerable influence in its heyday, how could disco have had none no matter how much we hated it...So, this would be more consistent with your "absorption" notion...

This post was modified by William Tell on 2007-12-12 22:00:45

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Poster: whirlwind dreamer 65-95 Date: Dec 12, 2007 10:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Disco Dead?

after the purple microdots kicked in who cared!!!! it was pure pychedelic rock n roll to me!!!i could never put those tunes in a disco class, any o;l way!!!! they could have sang opera and played classical and i would haved loved them just the same!!!!!lol!!!! as long as it was electric!!!! lol!!!!!! :) peace!!wwd

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Poster: northstar dead Date: Dec 12, 2007 11:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Disco Dead?

I must have had the wrong dots. The ones I tried were brown and in Hawaii. Nice little edge but nothing to write home about. Purple ones must be different.

Count me in as a Disco Dead Dude.

This post was modified by northstar dead on 2007-12-12 19:31:08

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Poster: ERBIE Date: Dec 12, 2007 1:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Disco Dead?

kinda remember those barrel's saw some grate shows st coast with them